Dr Saskia Vermeylen

Senior Lecturer

Research Interests

With a background in the humanities (law, international relations and history) Saskia’s main research interest focuses upon property theory from a critical socio-legal and philosophical perspective. For her PhD research she did extensive fieldwork in Southern Africa and has ever since developed a great love and interest for African cultures and history which she incorporates in her work by injecting a post-colonial theoretical lens in her work on land rights in Southern Africa and intellectual property rights over African cultures and traditional knowledges.

Published Research

Saskia is rounding off a long-term research interest in benefit sharing and justice and she is preparing a manuscript that gives an overview of the research she has done for more than 10 years on the Hoodia benefit sharing agreement from a critical legal and legal-anthropological perspective. The work she has published on justice and indigenous peoples explores the usefulness of legal pluralism and the recognition of customary law in praxis and theory. This body of work is closely linked to her other publications on property rights and the protection of indigenous peoples’ tangible and intangible property.

Current Research

Saskia is finishing a manuscript – God’s property: Critical Perspectives on Property and Theories of Justice - wherein she explores the meaning of excludability, exclusiveness and recognition in property theory throughout history. Through a critical engagement with the work of Lévinas and Derrida, she theorises what it means not to have property and whether a more ethical property regime can be developed through the notions of alterity and hospitality. Building upon her work on terrestrial frontiers, she is now also researching astro-legal discourses of extra-terrestrial frontiers through a comparative analysis of the political ideologies justifying historical settlement claims on earth and contemporary discourses of Lunar and Martian permanent settlement claims.

This links to the published research Saskia has done in the area of ownership rights of energy resources such as air, wind and sun which is part of a wider research interest in enclosures of the commons and the legal character of natural resources in the global commons such as oceanic and celestial commons. Currently, she is analysing the debate about the meaning of the common heritage principle in the Moon Agreement, Outer Space Treaty and UNCLOS III against the background of an increased commercial interest in deep sea bed and outer space mining but also the exploitation of the subsurface for heat, fluids, gasses and storage space.

Roles

Saskia is the theme leader for the Society and Environment Research Group in LEC bringing together a wide range of colleagues working in the humanities and social sciences.

Teaching

Saskia’s teaching contributes to the human geography curriculum in LEC and builds upon her research interests and expertise in colonial and post-colonial history and African cultures.

Can the biofuel crop, Jatropha curcas, be used as a locally-grown botanical pesticide?: a lab and field study in Zambia
Wilson, K., Maloney, K., Zulu, D., Mutamba, E., Vermeylen, S. 1/11/2013 In: Proceedings of The First International Conference on Pesticidal Plants. Nakuru, Kenya : Egerton University p. 124-127. 4 p.
Paper

Shifting cultivation and fire policy: insights from the Brazilian Amazon
Carmenta, R., Vermeylen, S., Parry, L., Barlow, J. 08/2013 In: Human Ecology. 41, 4, p. 603-614. 12 p.
Journal article

Soap security: African home economics in the aftermath of biofuel hype
van der Horst, D., Chibwe, T., Vermeylen, S. 02/2013 In: Solutions. 3, 6
Journal article

The Nagoya protocol and customary law: the paradox of narratives in the law
Vermeylen, S. 2013 In: Law, Environment and Development Journal. 9, 2
Journal article

Ownership claims, valuation practices and the unpacking of energy-landcsape conflicts
van der Horst, D., Vermeylen, S. 31/10/2012 In: International Review of Sociology . 22, 3, p. 429-445. 17 p.
Journal article

Chiefs and Customary Law in the Kalahari
Vermeylen, S. 2012
Other

Deconstructing the conservancy map; hxaro, n!ore and rhizomes in the Kalahari.
Vermeylen, S., Davies, G., van der Horst, D. 2012 In: Cartographica. 47, 2, p. 121-134. 14 p.
Journal article

Genetically modified organisms in agriculture : can regulations work?
Kothamasi, D., Vermeylen, S. 06/2011 In: Environment, Development and Sustainability. 13, 3, p. 535-546. 12 p.
Journal article

Spatial scale and social impacts of biofuel production
van der Horst, D., Vermeylen, S. 06/2011 In: Biomass and Bioenergy. 35, 6, p. 2435-2444. 10 p.
Journal article

Environmental Justice, Values and Biological Diversity: the San and the Hoodia Benefit Sharing Agreement.
Vermeylen, S., Walker, G. 04/2011 In: Environmental inequalities beyond borders: local perspectives on global injustices. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press p. 105-128. 24 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Understanding human-fire interactions in tropical forest regions: a case for interdisciplinary research across the natural and social sciences
Carmenta, R., Parry, L., Blackburn, A., Vermeylen, S., Barlow, J. 03/2011 In: Ecology and Society. 16, 1, p. -. 22 p.
Journal article

Indigenous peoples' cultural property rights and neotribal capitalism
Vermeylen, S. 2011
Conference paper

L'accord de partage des bénéfices sur le hoodia.
Vermeylen, S. 2011 In: La propriété intellectuelle contre la biodiversité?. Genève : Centre Europe-Tiers Monde p. 98-108. 11 p. ISBN: 9782880530730.
Chapter

Rights to landscape and the global moral economy of carbon
van der Horst, D., Vermeylen, S. 2011 In: Landscape Research. 36, 4, p. 455-470. 16 p.
Journal article

The political ecology of Jatropha curcas in Zambia
van der Horst, D., Vermeylen, S. 2011
Conference paper

African Stories in the Court Room
Vermeylen, S. 2010
Conference paper

Indigenous peoples and place: reclaiming landscape through stories and myths
Vermeylen, S. 2010
Conference paper

Law as a narrative: legal pluralism and resisting Euro-American (intellectual) property law through stories
Vermeylen, S. 2010 In: Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law. 61, p. 55-80. 26 p.
Journal article

Resource Rights and the Evolution of Renewable Energy Technologies.
Vermeylen, S. 2010 In: Renewable Energy. 35, 11, p. 2399-2405. 7 p.
Journal article

The survival of indigenous peoples in an age of global climate change: land, knowledge, and power in the Kalahari
Martin, G., Vermeylen, S. 2010
Conference paper

Wind Theft, Spatial Planning and International Relations.
van der Horst, D., Vermeylen, S. 2010 In: Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review. 1, 1, p. 67-75. 9 p.
Journal article

Sharing benefits : decision-making and governance.
Wynberg, R., Schroeder, D., Williams, S., Vermeylen, S. 28/11/2009 In: Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit Sharing : Lessons Learned from San Hoodia Case. Berlin : Springer p. 221-247. 27 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

The struggle for indigenous peoples' land rights : the case of Namibia.
Vermeylen, S. 28/11/2009 In: Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit Sharing : Lessons Learned from San Hoodia Case. Berlin : Springer p. 141-160. 20 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Trading traditional knowledge : San perspectives from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
Vermeylen, S. 28/11/2009 In: Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit Sharing : Lessons Learned from San Hoodia Case. Berlin : Springer p. 187-202. 16 p.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Indigenous Peoples and Land Rights: (Re)claiming ‘Landscape’ through Stories and Myths
Vermeylen, S. 2009
Conference paper

Law as a narrative: resisting Euro-American intellectual property law through stories and myths
Vermeylen, S. 2009
Conference paper

Let the objects speak: online museums and indigenous cultural heritage
Vermeylen, S., Pilcher, J. 2009 In: International Journal of Intangible Heritage. 4, n/a, p. 59-78. 20 p.
Journal article

From life force to slimming aid : exploring views on the commodification of traditional medicinal knowledge.
Vermeylen, S. 07/2008 In: Applied Geography. 28, 3, p. 224-235. 12 p.
Journal article

Intellectual property rights systems and the assemblage of local knowledge systems.
Vermeylen, S., Martin, G., Clift, R. 05/2008 In: International Journal of Cultural Property. 15, 2, p. 201-221. 21 p.
Journal article

From loss of objects to recovery of meanings: online museums and indigenous cultural heritage
Pilcher, J., Vermeylen, S. 2008 In: M/C Journal. 11, 6
Journal article

Indigenous Cultural Heritage and the Virtual Museum
Vermeylen, S., Pilcher, J. 2008
Conference paper

The New Energy Commons; Exploring the Role of Property Regimes in the Development of Renewable Energy Systems
van der Horst, D., Vermeylen, S. 2008
Conference paper

Beyond monetary valuation : understanding the social properties of property.
Vermeylen, S., van der Horst, D. 09/2007 In: Ecological Economics Research Trends. Hauppage : Nova Science Publishers p. 171-186. 16 p. ISBN: 978-1600219412.
Chapter

Contextualising 'Fair' and 'Equitable': the San's Reflections on the Hoodia Benefit-Sharing Agreement.
Vermeylen, S. 08/2007 In: Local Environment : The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 12, 4, p. 423-436. 14 p.
Journal article

Land rights, the Namibian San and the legacy of colonialism
Vermeylen, S., Martin, G. 2006
Conference paper

Intellectual Property, Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity.
Vermeylen, S., Martin, G. 09/2005 In: Capitalism Nature Socialism. 16, 3, p. 27-48. 22 p.
Journal article